The Paradip port iron ore berth project awaits financial closure as port authorities are yet to obtain environment clearance for the project
A number of Indian infrastructure projects are inching along towards completion due to environmental issues. The Paradip iron ore berth project, which was the first Public Private Partnership (PPP) project in the port sector under the New Model Concession policy, awaits financial closure, as environment clearance is still pending.
Gammon Infrastructure Projects Ltd (GIPL), in a consortium with the Noble Group Ltd and State-run trading company MMTC Ltd is developing the iron ore berth at Paradip port. The total project value stands at around Rs590 crore. The project is being developed on a build-operate-transfer (BOT) basis with concession period of 30 years, including a construction period of three years.
The project is being developed through a Special Purpose Vehicle called Blue Water Iron Ore Terminal Pvt Ltd. The project was awarded in July 2009. The venture is expected to add 10 million tonnes per annum capacity to Paradip port.
According to company sources, all the necessary procedures for the project's financial closure are in place. An environment go-ahead is necessary to formally conclude the financial closure for the project.
GIPL will be raising funds for this project from international banks. The company refused to divulge any further details on these lenders. The project would be financed through a 75:25 debt-equity ratio.
GIPL is positive that the port authorities would be able to obtain the green clearance within a month. The financial closure is expected to be achieved within a couple of weeks thereafter.
This was the first project under PPP to be implemented in the port sector as per the New Model Concession policy approved by the Cabinet. The tariffs for this project had been fixed by the Tariff Authority of Major Ports (TAMP). Paradip Port Trust floated global tenders for construction of a deep-draught iron ore berth on a BOT basis, as part of the PPP scheme of the Centre. The GIPL consortium was selected amongst five short-listed bidders.
In 2008, the New Model Concession policy for private sector participation projects replaced the Model License Agreement, which had been in use in major ports since March 2000. The decision was expected to bring about enhanced bankability of private sector projects in major ports, standardisation of financial and commercial terms for award of concessions for port projects, speedy decision-making and equitable and efficient allocation of risks between the contracting parties. This 2008 Model Concession Policy is also expected undergo certain significant changes soon.
While modifications in the policy might cover issues like bankability and risk allocation, the government needs to emphasise more on green issues too. Port capacity expansion is crucial to cater to the growing raw material requirements of the developing Indian economy.
Global market cues point out to a cautious-to flat opening for the Indian market today.
The Indian market was in a consolidation mood on Thursday after three days of gains. The session started on a positive note and was range-bound for a major part of the trading day. However, profit-booking in the last half-hour saw the benchmarks giving up all gains accrued in the session. The Sensex ended at 18,172, down 44 points (0.2%). The Nifty shut at 5,447, down 20 points (0.3%).
Annual food inflation fell marginally to 9.53% for the week ended 24th July as prices of vegetables, especially potato and onion declined government data on Thursday showed. Food inflation, which was 9.67% for the week ended 17th July, remained in single digit for the second consecutive week.
Meanwhile, fuel inflation for the week ended 24th July stood at 14.26% against 14.29% in the previous week.
The Dow fell 5 points (0.05%) to 10,674.98. The S&P 500 fell 1 point (0.1%) to 1,125.81. The Nasdaq fell 10 points (0.4%) to 2,293.06.
Planning Commission deputy chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia on Thursday said the current high level of inflation at 10.55% is a problem, but it should come down to a comfortable level of 6% by December.
"Inflation right now is a problem and the government recognises that...In my judgment by the end of this year it will not be what it is now. It will be much close to 6%, which most people regard as a comfortable level," Mr Ahluwalia said at a panel discussion.
The metropolis is fighting a war against malaria. However, the BMC does not have enough insecticides to combat the disease
Malaria is spreading like wildfire in Mumbai. In July, there has been a three-fold rise in cases diagnosed with the disease compared to last year. Amidst the lack of beds in hospitals and shortage of medicines, here comes another shocker. Civic body Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) does not have enough insecticides to ward off the mosquitoes spreading the disease.
According to a few BMC officials, the municipal authority does not have enough stock of insecticides to curb this disease. They said that the government has not been able to provide adequate funds for buying insecticides, plus payments have not been made to the insecticide manufacturer; even the supply chains are not working.
"We haven't received the necessary funding and there seems to be some payment issues with the insecticide manufacturing company," a BMC official told Moneylife on the condition of anonymity.
There is a shortage of stocks for medicines like Vectobac, and insecticides such as DDVP and Pyrethrum, to combat the disease. Another BMC official told us that ward officers have been asking for the insecticides, but have not been receiving them. "We have received our quota (for our ward), but for the past few days, (other) ward officers have been requesting for insecticides, but they have been told to wait," the official told Moneylife.
"As of today, we have got adequate insecticides, which will last us for a month - and we are in the process of procuring insecticides soon," said Dr Arun Bamne, BMC's chief insecticide officer. He refuted the allegations that there were inadequate funds for insecticides and said that there were no delays in distribution.
According to BMC data, in July, 12,000 people tested positive for malaria from the one lakh slides taken in house-to-house surveys. Last year, during the same period, there were 4,380 positive cases. The number of malaria cases in July has not only more than doubled compared to last year, it could very much be the highest number ever recorded in Mumbai.
Malaria spreads through the bite of the female Anopheles mosquito. The monsoon and post-monsoon period from June to November is considered the high transmission season for malaria.
(This is the first part of a continuing series on the malaria threat facing the city)